Sunday, October 07, 2012

Two New Doctors of the Church

 Pope Benedict XVI has named two new Doctors of the Church: the 16th century Spanish priest St. John of Avila and the 12th century German nun St. Hildegard of Bingen.

St. John of Avila, who lived 1500-1569, was famed as a preacher, confessor and spiritual writer. He is best known for the works “Audi, Filia” (“Listen, Daughter”), which is a guide to the spiritual life, and for his “Treaty of God’s Love.” In Spain he is honored as the patron saint of diocesan priests.

Saint Hildegard, Benedictine abbess, mystic and visionary, lived from 1098 to 1179. Hilegard is one of the greatest figures of the twelfth century. "A renaissance woman", she was a Benedictine prioress, a nurse and physician, a composer and lyricist, an author and playwright, a scientist, a linguist, a philosopher, a psychologist, and a mystic.

October 7, 2012. ( With this Mass, the Pope officially named two new Doctors of the Catholic Church. The title is given to those whose theological teachings remain relevant regardless of time. Thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square, as St. Hildegard of Bingen, was officially given this title.  Through her teachings, the German nun reflects human's natural desire to connect with God.

“Saint Hildegard of Bingen, an important female figure of the twelfth century, offered her
precious contribution to the growth of the Church of her time, employing the gifts received from God and showing herself to be a woman of brilliant intelligence, deep sensitivity and recognized spiritual authority.”

Also added to the list is St. John of Avila. He felt very strongly about formal education and formation. Among other things, the Spanish priest is remembered for his unique preaching style, which made people feel closer to God.

“A profound expert on the sacred Scriptures, he was gifted with an ardent missionary
spirit. He knew how to penetrate in a uniquely profound way the mysteries of the redemption
worked by Christ for humanity. A man of God, he united constant prayer to apostolic action.”

With these two new appointments, the Church now has a total of 35 doctors.

During this Mass, the Pope also officially opened the Synod on the New Evangelization. This three week meeting brings bishops, archbishops and cardinals from all over the world. Their mission is to analyze how to effectively  transmit the message of the Gospel, especially in Western countries where the faith is losing strength.

“With this solemn concelebration we open the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the
Synod of Bishops on the theme The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. This theme reflects a programmatic direction for the life of the Church, its members,families, its communities and institutions.”

The Synod on the New Evangelization will take place in Rome and run until October 28th. It takes place just days before the Church celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council on October 11th, which is also the day when the Pope will open the “Year of Faith.”

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